Escalators provide people young and old easy and usually safe travel up and down floors in large facilities like shopping malls and airports, but they can also be a potential safety threat if not maintained and used properly. Escalators can be especially dangerous for young children as well as older adults, and it is important to assist them while on an escalator and be aware of their actions while riding.
The majority of escalator accidents happen to young children, but there has been a significant increase in elderly accidents on escalators over the past decade. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found nearly 40,000 older adults were injured on escalators between 1991 and 2005 due to falling or tripping. Eight percent of these victims had to be admitted to the hospital after visiting the emergency room.
Escalator Safety Tips
If you have a young child or are with an elderly adult who has trouble walking, you may want to consider taking the elevator. If you do decide to use an escalator, keep the following safety tips in mind:
- The first step can make or break the trip. Provide verbal and physical guidance so everyone gets on the escalator safely.
- Hold your child’s hand while riding. This way you can be aware of what her or she is doing at all times on the escalator.
- Check for objects or loose-fitting clothes like a shoelace that could get caught and present a potential threat.
- Assist and supervise others on the step off the escalator.
Common escalator injuries include entrapment or serious blunt force trauma from tripping. These injuries can be life-altering. Always use proper care and lead by example when using an escalator.
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